A worldwide quest from the Vatican to the Ganges, the Wailing Wall to the Dalai Lama Temple and Dome of the Rock Mosque, seeking to discover the principle that drives humanity to believe in God - whatever or whoever that may be. Interviews with scientists, atheists (eg Australia's Phillip Adams) and religious leaders from diverse faiths (the Sikh, the Buddhist, the Pastor, the Muslim, the Rabbi, the Guru, the Sufi) as well as award-winning American author Richard Heinberg, the film spotlights the most controversial yet elusive figure in recorded history.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
"The biggest search since ... the Dawn of time! Narrated by award-winning comedian Dawn French." This tag line is highly visible on the film's posters and hints that the filmmakers have a sense of humour - which makes the film's subject matter immediately more approachable, whether you're religious, spiritual, atheist or plain confused.
Reinforcing the inscrutability of the idea of god and entertainingly, engagingly posing the same old questions about a higher being, the meaning of life and the stupidity of man. As a species, we search for peace but find war, pray to and blame god. These contradictions are well defined and teased out by the well written, intelligent script that Dawn French narrates with just the right balance of sensitivity and a pinch of scepticism.
The subject is taken seriously, but the filmmakers don't mistake serious for boring. They also sensibly fill the film with images from around the world, worshippers and soldiers, scientists and monks, believers and non believers ...
As you might expect, Phillip Adams (in his Atheist role) economically explains his position; while he understands people needing a god, "the more I looked at the effects of god, the less I liked the notion ..."
Although unable to actually find god at the end of this chase, the filmmakers do a terrific job of engaging us in these eternal questions surrounding the notion of supra-human being - whatever our picture of him. Or her. Or it. Dawn French tells us there are 4.5 billion people on earth who believe in such a higher power. But nobody suggests that believing in god proves his existence. Indeed, my enjoyment of this film comes largely from the fact that the mystery of human existence - the mystical side of our nature - relies so fervently on some sort of god. Are we projecting? Is it not that we create god in our own image not god (the Christian one) creating us in his?
Chasing God is crammed with some extraordinary images, and they are spectacularly well utilised in context with the script.
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CHASING GOD (G)
NARRATION: Dawn French
PRODUCER: Lenny de Vries
DIRECTOR: Lenny de Vries, Dylan Burton
SCRIPT: Robin Hughes, Barbara Bossert-Ramsay
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Not credited
EDITOR: Ian Carmichael
MUSIC: Michael Timothy
RUNNING TIME: 52 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Ronin Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 9, 2005